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June report

King’s Somborne W.I. met on Wednesday 8th June but not at the usual venue in the Village Hall but at Rockley Farm in Up Somborne since Richard and Polly Ann Monk had kindly agreed to arrange an educational tour round their farm

First, Richard gave us a short talk telling us how he and his father had started farming at Rockley in the 1970s and thereafter took up opportunities to increase the acreage. They now have a large arable farm producing crops of wheat, oats and barley for seed production with a laboratory on site to control the purity and quality of the seeds and needs of the soil, and have introduced some machines to purify the seed crops and thereby increase their sale value.

After the talk we all climbed up onto a special seated trailer and started our tour of the farm in beautiful evening sunshine.  Our first stop was by a small hazel wood which was being coppiced for hurdle making and we were told how wildlife conservation was being encouraged by leaving clear strips round the fields, planting more trees and linking with other farms in the area to record birds and insects on their land.  We then crossed the fields to the central area where there were large grain stores with facilities for drying the seeds and storage tanks to collect rainwater for irrigation.

We were then shown a combine harvester which had a laser beam to control its direction and a large spraying machine with satellite control.

At the end of our tour, we were driven along the Stockbridge road to a lovely view point adjacent to the wind turbines looking towards Sparsholt, Crawley and down the valley towards Up Somborne.

The evening ended with drinks in Richard and Pollyanns’ lovely garden when Frances Shone gave a vote of thanks for a most delightful and informative tour.

Our next meeting will be a talk by Gordon Lewis on 13th July which is entitled ‘Listen to the Band’.

Nola Mackintosh


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